Renovating our home as sustainably as we possibly can is extremely important to us. We want both the renovation and future environmental footprint to be as minimal as feasible. However as we are both completely new to renovating and building, it involves a lot of learning and research. We thought we’d share our process on how exactly we decide on what route we go down for renovating different parts of our house. We research our options carefully to be fully informed and educated. Whether it’s a new heating system, restoring the walls or putting new gravel down on the driveway, we have researched thoroughly.
This is our process for researching different renovation methods in order to find the most sustainable and suitable.
Research the traditional method
To start, we research the typical method. The most common way isn’t always the most sustainable, but we like to start here to learn exactly what is involved in the task. It’s a great starting place and gets us familiar with the task at hand.
Look into the materials and methods
We take a look at the materials and methods involved and see what alternatives might be better suited. If cement is typically used, maybe As an example, typically cement might be used for the task at hand. However perhaps we could use a more natural material, or even use something we already own.
Research the individual elements
The next step is the most important. We like to research all of the different elements involved in the material and method. We look at the following things and ask ourselves these questions:
- The manufacturing of the material: Is this material resource heavy in its production?
- Material: Is it a natural material? Will it off-gas?
- Longevity: Will this item last a long time, or will it need to be replaced in a few years?
- Long term impact: Will it need regular maintenance or is it fit and forget?
- Waste: Will this produce a lot of waste, either initially when installed or at the end of its life?
- Efficiency: How well does it perform the task it is supposed to?
- Cost: It is affordable for our budget?
- User-friendliness: Is this project something we could do ourselves or will we need to hire in professionals?
Make a final comparison
We compare all of the above factors and make an ultimate decision on what route to go down, always prioritising the longevity and efficiency. We feel that renovating with materials and methods that are built to last is the ultimate way for us to be sustainable.
It’s not always easy finding the perfect sustainable solution, especially on a budget. We have had to compromise in some areas for some of the parts we have renovated, as sometimes the perfect option environmentally is far out of reach for our budget. At the end of the day, we live in a world not built with sustainability in mind, so we are just doing our absolute best. We are still very happy with our efforts into building our sustainable home!